Phillips declares himself cancer-free, health in ‘perfect condition'
Dr Peter Phillips (file photo)
Any lingering concerns about the health of Opposition Leader, Dr Peter Phillips, have been dismissed, as the man vying to be the country's next prime minister declared on Saturday night that he is now cancer-free.
Phillips was responding to a question regarding the status of his health at Saturday night's final of a series of national political debates which were staged by the Jamaica Debates Commission (JDC).
"My treatment is over. I am cancer-free and I thank God for that opportunity," he responded, adding: "Now I am prepared to give service again as long as the Almighty permits it and my health enables it, and as of now, my health now is in perfect condition."
Phillips' age and his colon cancer diagnosis, for which he had a successful surgery in April, have been dragged into the discussions surrounding his leadership of the Opposition People’s National Party (PNP) into the September 3 General Elections.
But the 70-year-old assured that he is ready to lead the country to the best of his ability with "clean hands".
Phillips broadly said: "At the present time, I think we have to recognise that what I am called upon to do is to operate with the best of my ability to give of myself as I have done at every stage in my life of my public service career. I come here with clean hands."
In true political form, the Opposition leader listed his qualifications as a former Government minister.
He elaborated that "In an earlier phase, I had the opportunity as a very young man to co-ordinate the construction of 10,000 houses in Portmore. I had opportunity to subsequently establish the JUTC (Jamaica Urban Transit Company), to establish the route taxi system."
Continuing, Phillips said: "I have subsequently had opportunity as a more mature person to rescue Jamaica's economy from the chaos in which it was left by the then JLP administration in the period 2007 to 2011."
In his rebuttal, Prime Minister Andrew Holness stayed far from digging into Phillip's health, merely indicating that "I am happy to hear that the leader of Opposition is (now) cancer-free".
The Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) leader then suggested that his hands were also clean, and similarly outlined a raft of his achievements in governance.
“The truth is as well, my hands are clean. I have worked hard. I have presided over the construction of 22,000 housing solutions and more," Holness stated, adding that "I have had the opportunity to be minister of education to really make profound and fundamental changes in education."
Additionally, Holness indicated that "Also as prime minister, I am also a minister and I have presided over the construction of more roads in Jamaica than any other government in the recent history of Jamaica, including projects that started under his administration, which they didn't complete."
While ignoring moderator, Dervan Malcolm, then, that the time for his rebuttal was over, Holness said: "So I can see why he (Phillips) would want to come now and make a case..."
He finally conceded that his time to respond was over as Malcolm directed another question from a journalist at the debate.